Ahead of this evening’s Euro 2016 semi-final between France and Germany, CaughtOffside picks a combined XI made of up players from both countries.
We have not picked this lineup exclusively on tournament form, although there are several players who have snuck into the side based on their performances in France.
GK: Manuel Neuer
France captain Hugo Lloris is among the top 10 goalkeepers in the world, but Neuer tops that list. He isn’t usually as busy as his Tottenham Hotspur counterpart, but he is still often a match-winner.
RB: Bacary Sagna
Germany have toyed with Shkodran Mustafi, Joshua Kimmich and even Benedikt Howedes at right-back throughout the tournament, while 33-year-old Manchester City defender Sagna has been very consistent.
CB: Jerome Boateng
Has come on leaps and bounds since his one season at the Etihad Stadium. A physical and powerful defender who also has great technical prowess, as illustrated by his volley versus Slovakia.
CB: Laurent Koscielny
Mats Hummels would be alongside Boateng in this team if he was available, but suspension rules the new Bayern Munich signing out. Arsenal centre-back Koscielny is the best that the French have.
LB: Jonas Hector
The Cologne left-back has stepped effortlessly into the shoes of Philipp Lahm since the World Cup-winning captain’s retirement. Has attacked brilliantly, while Patrice Evra has showed his age.
CM: Toni Kroos
The Real Madrid pass-master has made more at Euro 2016 than any other player. So vital to Germany’s attacking rhythm, and a contender for team of the tournament, especially if he reaches the final.
CM: Paul Pogba
France’s midfield is full of energy and power, but Pogba is undoubtedly the jewell in the crown, which is why Manchester United are trying to make him the first £100m player, according to Sky Sports.
AMR: Dimitri Payet
The West Ham United playmaker took his club form into the start of the tournament, scoring an outstanding winner against Romania. Is now one of the most feared attackers on the continent.
AMC: Thomas Muller
The Bayern Munich forward has had a Euros to forget from a personal perspective, failing to score in five games. But he is a world-class player with big-game pedigree. Expect him to have an impact tonight.
AML: Mesut Ozil
It is a pity that we have to stick Ozil out on the left wing, but so strong are his creative powers that he could still influence a game from out wide. Julian Draxler and Mario Gotze both miss out.
ST: Antonie Griezmann
Has not played through the middle this tournament. France’s main striker, Olivier Giroud, has scored three goals, but Griezmann is joint-top scorer with four and is a much more clinical finisher.
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